Travel Trouble

Is overtourism impacting our favourite destinations?

Is overtourism impacting our favourite destinations?

Overtourism can be a big dream killer, especially if you’ve been saving up and looking forward to your trip all year.

As the population of the world continues to grow, overtourism is fast becoming one of the more debated issues in the world of travel.

Many factors are at play when heading to your favourite destination, including cheaper flights, rising incomes and social media’s ability to put a laser-like focus on destinations that were once hidden from the world.

Headlines from around the world have highlighted that cities who are reliant on tourism dollars undergo an identity crisis when the boatloads of tourists become more of a problem than they’re worth.

"Tourism is like any other industry: it needs to be regulated and managed locally to prevent negative impacts," says Justin Francis, CEO of UK-based tour operator Responsible Travel told CNN.

In some of the world’s more popular destinations, such as Venice, Italy, the locals are already taking charge.

"The main problem is 'mordi e fuggi' tourism, day trip tourism," says Guido Moltedo, Editor in Chief of Ytali, who claims this accounts for two thirds of visitors.

The city has introduced a new levy on day-trippers, which starts at 3 euros. By 2020, the fee will range between 3 euros and 10 euros, which are dependant on the time of year and the amount of visitors in the area.

However, Moltedo is aware that it doesn’t solve the problem.

“The real problem is not getting more money, but reducing the impact of tourism."

Other smaller countries are suffering as well.

Due to the popularity of the show Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik in Croatia has seen a popularity surge to locations such as its Old Town.

With an increase of 8 per cent from 2017 in 2018 numbers, with a massive 1.27 million people visiting, the city needed to do something.

"Dubrovnik is successfully conducting a project called 'respect the city', with the aim of sustainable and responsible tourism development," says Romana Vlašić, director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

"One of the measures is limiting the number of cruise ship passengers to 4,000 at the same time."

As the weather heats up around the globe, some people want to escape to the colder weather that can be found in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The annual numbers have jumped from 500,000 in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2018 and this means that the country has had to deal with a huge influx of people.

However, instead of discouraging visitors, Iceland is looking to diversify the offerings for tourists.

"Recognizing the strain being placed on Reykjavik and a small number of other sites, they have tried to promote areas further afield to ease the pressure on the 'Golden Circle,'" Francis says, referring to a popular day tour of geological attractions.